Kobe Bryant is still stacking up records – he just became the NBA’s all-time leading points scorer during All-Star game play – but it could have been very different. Indeed, the Lakers guard was seriously considering retirement just a few months ago.
According to Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, Bryant had been pondering whether to hang up his boots last season, due to his surgically repaired right knee and sprained left ankle restricting his customary on-court explosiveness.
However, an innovative treatment this off-season on both Bryant’s right knee and left ankle seemed to solve everything. Bryant flew to Germany to undergo the procedure, but it was worth it – the 33-year-old Lakers legend returned to the States and told Rodriguez that he felt years younger. A-Rod recalls:
“[Kobe] was really adamant about how great the procedure was for him. I know that he was hurting before, almost even thinking about retirement, that’s how much pain he was under. And then he said after he went to Germany he felt like a 27-year-old again.”
The work on Bryant’s knee and ankle was performed by a Dr. Peter Wehling at the Center for Orthopaedics and Molecular Medicine in Dusseldorf. Bryant received orthokine treatments on his right knee and left shoulder, and five platelet-rich plasma injections on consecutive days.
And hey, the work seems to be doing the trick. In 2009-10, Bryant plummeted to his lowest points output in years, with 25.3 points per game. Yet in 2010-11, he led the league in scoring, with 28.4 points per game. He also logged an average 38 minutes per game – five more than in 2009-10.
In other words, retirement can wait for now.